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Old 09-18-2005, 11:47 PM   #1
Scott Miller
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Default Costa Rica (Golfito) or Panama?

In January 2006 I will leave Canada for Central America seeking crew positions into the South Pacific (hopefully onward to Australia). In your opinion, would it be best to be looking in the port of Golfito, Costa Rica or Panama?

Any other advice or suggestions greatly appreciated.

Fair Winds,

Scott Miller
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Old 09-19-2005, 12:06 AM   #2
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Post on the Cruiser Log Crewfinders web site first: http://www.cruiserlog.com/forums/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=4.

Panama will have boats coming from the Atlantic into the Pacific - they trickle in, a few at a time, and they head out again. The advantage (though small, IMO), is that you can work as a line tender through the locks and the boats will have a small glimpse of how you work.

Golfito - it's been so long since I've been there that I'm not sure how many boats are there getting ready to head west. I hope somebody else will be able to answer that.

the west coast sailing rag, Latitude 38 is another place to look - lots of boats head to mexico in the Baja Ha Ha regatta/rally which get lots of writeup in Lat 38. They have a crew party before the regatta (some time in late October/November? - check mag.) - look into that, too. When we arrived in Tahiti in 1992 I would say the majority of boats arriving in French Polynesia left from Mexico. I would guess that's still the case. You will find very few Atlantic coast sailors crossing the Pacific. Better cruising grounds in the Atlantic and Caribbean than west coast US, I think.

Good luck.
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Old 09-21-2005, 09:18 PM   #3
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Scott, I think Jeanne's mostly nailed it and tho' it may not suit your travel plans, those ports where pockets of SoPac-bound sailors accummulate from Mazatlan down to Z-town are one potential scouting ground for you. OTOH my impression these days is that much of this is done on-line, which means you show up too late in at least some cases.

Where I disagree with Jeanne is about the Canal area. Each year there are a lot of Europeans and also many other nationalities who begin arriving in Colon and the San Blas Is. from January onward, gathering to transit the Canal between February and April with plans to sail out into the Pacific. Some research Jimmy Cornell has done multiple times suggests this traffic varies but is in the 200+/- range, as I recall. This means a sizeable group is passing thru a choke point over a relatively short time period. Of course, Colon and then Balboa are the last steps before folks head out to do some l-o-n-g passages, so boats try to nail down their crews before arriving here with the click ticking.

Two thoughts: work the relevant BB's on-line hard during your travels, competing for an 'electronic' berth along with everyone else, and utilize Latitude 38 as Jeanne suggested. If it isn't too late, I'd even encourage you to show up at the San Diego party they hold each year before the Ha-Ha kicks off; some crew slots are filled at the last minute there. OTOH most of those folks don't go into the SoPac but rather cruise Mexico and then return, with a smaller group going on to the Caribbean.

Good luck to you on making Oz!

Jack
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Old 09-22-2005, 06:16 AM   #4
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Right On! Many thanks JeanneP and Jack!

If anyone else has some ideas, would love to hear em.

All is one,

Fair Winds,

Scott
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Old 09-22-2005, 04:41 PM   #5
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For everyone interested in this thread, there is further information on the movements and timing of the cruising fleet at http://www.cruiser.co.za/crewfinder1.asp

This page gives a pretty good idea of where to be at what time of the year if you're looking to assist a yacht on a passage.

Good luck.
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Old 09-22-2005, 07:45 PM   #6
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Scott, I think one of us should have mentioned the many crew/ship/owner "finder" services that are available via the web. Were I you, I would try to network a bit with others who have done or are doing what you plan, the purpose being to get some first-hand positive referals to crew finder services. As one example (I got this via Google and you might do the same...), http://www.sailopo.com is the home of Offshore Sailing Opportunities. The few folks I've found on BB's like this one who registered via OSO were positive about the organization and it's one I would consider using as a boat owner/captain if I were looking for crew.

Jack
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